Ratings Roundup: ESPN’s Saturday Night Football Is Top College Football Package; Fox Doubles UFC Audience

Compiled by Jason Dachman, Managing Editor, SVG

ESPN’s Saturday Night Football on ABC was the highest-rated and most-viewed college football series among all networks carrying college football this season. The weekly package averaged 6,518,000 viewers and a 4.0 rating, and was the most-watched program of the night in viewers on six of its 12 broadcasts this season. The Saturday Night Football broadcast of Notre Dame defeating USC 22-13 on November 24 was ABC’s second most-viewed and second highest-rated regular-season game since 1991, averaging 16,059,000 viewers and a 9.4 rating.

Overall, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 combined to reach more than 187,000,000 viewers for game telecasts. Add in ESPNU’s lineup and the networks averaged 2,018,000 viewers for 216 regular-season games…

…ESPN concluded its extensive regular-season coverage of the 2012 college football on Saturday with a double-decker send off. The network notched the second most-viewed and second highest-rated Heisman Trophy Presentation telecast ever, averaging 4,902,000 viewers and a 3.5 rating (behind 2009’s average of 5,990,000 viewers and a 4.1 rating).

The Heisman presentation was followed by You Don’t Know Bo, the latest film in ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 film series, which earned a 2.3 metered market rating to become ESPN’s highest rated documentary on an overnight basis. The film, which aired Sunday night after the Heisman Trophy presentation, topped The Fab Five, an ESPN Films documentary that premiered to a 2.0 overnight rating on March 13, 2011, about the famed University of Michigan basketball team of the early 1990s.

…FOX Sports’ UFC coverage last Saturday night (12/8) almost doubled the audience of the network’s last presentation, and delivered the network its highest-rated, most-watched UFC event since January. UFC on FOX 5 posted a 2.5/4 household rating/share, with an average audience of 4.4 million viewers in primetime for a quadruple fight card The audience for UFC on FOX 5 was 83% better than UFC on FOX 4 in August (1.4/3, 2.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The Benson Henderson-Nate Diaz main even went a full 5 rounds with Henderson winning by unanimous decision, and drew a solid 3.3/6 with 5.7 million viewers. UFC on FOX 5 opened with Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown (2.0/4, 3.6 million viewers) and grew steadily throughout the night as BJ Penn was defeated by Rory MacDonald (2.4/4, 4.3 million) and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was beaten by Alexander Gustafsson (2.5/5, 4.5 million)…

ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecast of the New England Patriots’ 42-14 win over the Houston Texans delivered a 9.0 U.S. rating and 14.5 million viewers. That is up 45% in ratings and 47% in viewership from Rams/Seahawks last year (6.2, 9.9M).

The Week 14 Lions/Packers “Sunday Night Football” game drew a 12.8 final rating and 21.4 million viewers on NBC, down 14% in ratings and 13% in viewership from Giants/Cowboys last year (14.9, 24.5M), but still the best “SNF” showing since Cowboys/Falcons in Week 9 (13.2, 21.8M), and the second-best telecast since Giants/Eagles in Week 4 (14.1, 22.8M).

The Week 14 NFL national window, featuring the Giants’ 25-point victory over the Saints, earned a 14.8 final rating and 24.5 million viewers on FOX — up 17% in ratings and 18% in viewership from coverage featuring Raiders/Packers last year (12.7, 20.8M).

The Week 14 Broncos/Raiders “Thursday Night Football” game drew a 4.2 U.S. rating and 6.8 million viewers on NFL Network, up 5% in ratings and 3% in viewership from Browns/Steelers last year (4.0, 6.6M), and up 27% and 25%, respectively, from Colts/Titans in 2010 (3.3, 5.4M)…

…The Knicks/Nets rivalry has not been a blockbuster attraction nationally. Tuesday’s Knicks/Nets NBA regular season game drew 1.7 million viewers on ESPN, ranking as just the 15th-largest NBA television audience of the season (29 telecasts on ESPN and TNT). The game was not even the top NBA telecast of the night, trailing Clippers/Bulls (2.0M).




Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters


The Latest in Sports Video Production & Technology
in Your Inbox for FREE

Daily Email Newsletters Monday - Friday